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caviar;  noun. /kav’i-är/

From the Persian word 'havyar' – derived from the Old Persian word 'khavyar'

 ~ bearer of eggs.

Sturgeon are one of the oldest living vertebrates on the planet.

 

Some, consider them as 'living fossils'. Evolving over 250 million years ago, they survived the sudden disappearance of the dinosaurs.

Perhaps as far back as the first human beings who mastered the art of fishing, caviar was discovered and consumed.

The Ancient Persians were known to have appreciated caviar, believing that it had medicinal qualities and could imbue strength and vitality. The Persians were also the first to cure the roe of the sturgeon. Greek and Roman literature refers to these 'sublime black pearls' , and even the great Aristotle wrote of this prized fish.

 

In Europe, Popes and princes of the church were treated to the pleasures of the 'Royal Fish' and in England, sturgeon and its roe, was reserved exclusively for the use of the King.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the availability of caviar gradually became more widespread in Europe. It had however been popular for centuries in Russia.

During the second half of the nineteenth century the USA and Canada were the major suppliers to the world market.

But by 1910, several species of American sturgeon were all but extinct and production practically ceased.

 

Up until the 1950s, production of caviar was dominated by the USSR. However, in 1953, following a a bilateral agreement, Iran also began to emerge as a significant exporter. 

Over the years, overfishing and poaching has resulted in a critical drop in the population of many species. The building of dams and reservoirs on the more than 130 rivers and tributaries that sustain the Caspian Sea compounded the dire situation by diminishing the sturgeon’s access to its natural spawning grounds. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, implementation of regulations and quotas to remedy the erosion of this valuable resource became even more complicated within the CIS countries.

Well-regulated and with favourable climatic and environmental conditions, Iran has continued to enhance its reputation as the premium producer of this unique delicacy.

 

The metaphor often used by experts to describe Iranian Caviar, is most apt:–

 

'The Champagne of Caviar'!

Caviar is a nutritionally dense food – It is rich in calcium, phosphorus, protein, selenium, iron, magnesium, and Vitamins;  A, C, D, B6, B12 and B2 – It also contains essential amino acids, and just one tablespoon of caviar contains as much as 1 gram of Omega-3.

It has in the past, been used as a treatment for depression, as well as having numerous other beneficial  properties.

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